Stanley Kubrick may be gone, but neither the auteur’s devoted fans nor one of his most legendary projects show any signs of slipping quietly into the night.
With the announcement of Steven Spielberg’s decision to helm “A.I.,” look for Web site chat rooms to start buzzing with excitement, speculation and rueful ruminating on how Stanley would have handled the material that Steven is now bringing to life. The connections between the film that Kubrick couldn’t crack and the two crackerjack filmmakers are dazzlingly fraught with symbiotic significance that will keep cyberspace abuzz. Consider:
- Back in the early ’70s, when Spielberg’s career was just beginning, already anointed genius filmmaker Kubrick set about adapting Brian Aldiss’ 1969 short story “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long.” In 1977, according to Aldiss, Kubrick was completely turned off by Spielberg partner-buddy George Lucas’ “Star Wars,” and he saw “Super-Toys” as a potentially major sci-fi pic with both the integrity of Kubrick and B.O. strength of Lucas.
He abandoned the project to make “The Shining,” but was quite taken with Spielberg’s “E.T.,” which provided a kind of compass point to return to “Super-Toys” in 1982.
- Kubrick moved on to film “Full Metal Jacket,” but returned to the Aldiss tale in 1989. Frustrated by the inadequacies of fx at the time, he bailed again. Kubrick then switched gears in the early ’90s to “The Aryan Papers,” a concentration camp tale that got derailed, according to reports, by Kubrick’s feeling that Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” had covered that ground.
- In 1993, the advances in fx demonstrated by Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” convinced Kubrick that “A.I.,” as the project was now known, could be cracked. He enlisted the help of Industrial Light & Magic fx pros Dennis Muren and Ned Gorman. Muren won the Oscar for “Jurassic,” and Gorman worked on the “Jurassic” sequel.
- The star of Kubrick’s last film was Tom Cruise. The star of “Minority Report,” the project that Spielberg moved from his sked for “A.I.,” is Tom Cruise.
- Kubrick was represented by Creative Artists Agency when he was developing the project. Spielberg is represented by CAA.